Enter Sri

For the latter portion of our trip the three of us decided to take a quick break from the Republic of India and hop off to a neighboring island. At this point we weren’t necessarily over Indian grub (well, Kagwa perhaps) but a change was most definitely welcomed. There's only some much roti and chicken fry the bowels can take. Enter Sri Lanka. We winged down via Spice Jet- quite possibly Asia’s worst airline. Anyways, we made it. New country, new people, new landscapes and new bites.

A young Sri Lankan corn peddler.

 A fishmonger showing off his yellowfin offering. This fish be everywhere.

Tuna features prominently in the cuisine of this teardrop nation. Usually cooked in either a green or red ‘curry’, chunks of tuna are served with rice and an addictive condiment called pol sambola. More on this shredded coconut sensation later.

Fresh tuna is also boiled, smoked and sun dried to make a product called Maldive dried fish, which is used to season and flavor countless local dishes. Think of it as Sri Lanka’s fish sauce.

Pol Sambola. 

It’s a condiment, but it may very well be the most delicious thing in Sri Lanka. Peep preparation technique: Freshly shaved coconut is hand-pounded in a mortar and pestle with chilis and shallots. Fresh lime juice and flaked Maldive dried fish are added and the whole mess is pan fried in coconut oil for a few minutes until it crisps up just a touch. For fresh coconut connoisseurs such as myself, this stuff is heaven. The coconut has a splendid natural sweetness that plays well with the other spicy, salty elements.

No utensils necessary.

Plastic lining. Just like your grandma's couch.

When you've had your tuna fix, try sampling some Kothu Roti. It isn't hard to find, just follow your ears. All across the island at night you can hear the telling sounds of metal slapping metal- a cook chopping fresh roti with mixed vegetables (cabbage, carrots, onions) eggs and a protein of your choice. A national favorite, many Kothu Roti spots are open until the wee hours to satisfy the night owl locals. Unfortunately, both times I ate this dish I wanted to like it more than I actually did. Tasted like a southeast asian stoner mashup- only problem was I wasn't stoned. Perhaps I should have done like the islanders and indulged in healthy amounts of pre-meal Arrack to lubricate the buds.

A fisherman and his beloved Arrack.

Arrack: Fermented and distilled coconut palm flower sap.

Strength: 67 proof

Price: ~$5 bottle

Aroma: Butterscotch & Vanilla

Taste: Watered down rum- in a good way.

Stay Tipsy.

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